InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Resolutions ( Chapter 201 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Two Hundred One~~

-OoOoOoOo OoOoOoOoOoO-

'His hands were trembling ...
'We both were crying
'He kissed me gently
'And then he quickly walked away …'

-'How Can I Help You Say Goodbye?' by Patty Loveless.


Valerie sighed as she sat in the small bar just inside the security check in the airport, ignoring the few curious glances she was garnering as she sipped the glass of wine she'd been nursing for the past couple of hours while she waited to see if she could get a seat on a flight home.  If she were to stop and think about it, she probably looked just as freakish as they seemed to think that she did.  In her rush to get out of the hotel, she hadn't bothered with anything except struggling into her clothes and getting the hell out of the door.  She hadn't even bothered to brush her hair . . . and for some reason, that thought nearly made her smile in a strange, almost crazed sort of way.

'Well, why the hell should I look better than I feel at the moment?'

Shaking two Tylenol capsules out of the small bottle she kept in her purse, Valerie slugged them back with a long quaff of the wine.  Head pounding, hands unnaturally hot and dry, eyes burning as a strange kind of haziness seemed to cling to every single movement she made, she felt as though she were trapped in a dream—or a nightmare . . .

Balancing on the cusp of a complete and utter nervous breakdown, or at least, that was how she felt.  It seemed like the harder she tried not to think about what had happened with Marvin, the harder it was to forget—or maybe not forget.  After all, there was no way in the world to forget that, now was there?  But dwelling on it wasn't going to help, either.  There'd be more than enough time to do that once she got home.  Even if she wanted to tell herself that she honestly hadn't meant to have sex with Marvin, it did nothing to alleviate the sense that she'd done something very, very wrong.  The dream she'd had . . . she had thought that it was Evan, hadn't she?  She'd wanted it to be Evan . . .

It was simply too much.  Too much had happened in the last twenty-four hours, and she couldn't quite shake the feeling that she was slowly but surely coming apart at the seams.  No, right now, all she could think of was Evan and just how in the hell she was going to explain any of this to him when she didn't rightfully know how to deal with it herself . . .?

"If he says that he loves you, he means it.  He's not lying about it."

He loved her . . .? Okay, but would he love her when he found out what had happened?  How the hell could he possibly forgive her for it when she . . . when she couldn't even do the same thing?

Valerie grimaced and rubbed her forehead with a shaking, tired hand.  Everything had somehow managed to spiral out of her control, hadn't it?   And the people she'd never meant to hurt were the ones she was going to cause the most pain . . .

"If you love him, then for God's sake, stop this!  Don't you see what you're doing?  Keeping Marvin on the line while you're stringing Evan along?  How fair is that, V?  How fair is that to either of them?  I'm not just talking about Evan, but just how fair is that to Marvin, too?"

Her own indecisive feelings had led her to this.  Because she didn't want to face the things that she knew were inevitable, both Evan and Marvin . . . and neither one of them deserved any of it.

No, maybe if she were stronger, maybe she could make herself just walk away from both of them.  Maybe if she could forget the things that Evan had said to her time and again, she'd be able to let go of him, but she couldn't.  She'd deluded herself into thinking briefly that she could do that, but that was a lie, and she knew that, too, and as much as she hated to admit it, Marvin wasn't the trouble.  If she were to be completely honest with herself, she knew that somewhere deep inside, Marvin had lost out to Evan a long time ago.  That thought wrenched a grimace from her—the callousness of her own malicious thoughts . . . It wasn't some kind of a game, now was it? Winners and losers and . . .

Sighing heavily, Valerie bit her lip as she shifted a surreptitious glance around, over the railing that separated the restaurant from the rest of the airport's main walkway.  People were hurrying this way and that, catching a flight or just wanting to get out of the place, to move on with their agendas.  They looked so aloof, so confident, didn't they?  As if not one of them had ever had to deal with the thoughts that she was struggling with now, and how lucky were they, if that really were the case?  How fortunate to be so oblivious to Valerie, to the hateful thoughts that plagued her . . .

That wasn't right, was it?  There never was some kind of weird contest between Evan and Marvin, and it wasn't a question of winning or losing.  The only things that existed were her own stupid delusions, her stubborn beliefs that somehow, what she needed and what she wanted never could be one in the same, and, while she didn't want to think that she'd really used Marvin, she knew better, didn't she?

The trill of her cell phone broke through her bleak thoughts, and she uttered a small squeak as she fumbled with the device.  "Hello?"

"Ms. Denning?  Hello, this is Lynn at the Interatlantic Airways booking desk?  You asked that we call you if a seat opened up on one of our flights into New York City?"

"Y-Yes," she muttered, gripping the phone so tightly that her fingers turned white.

"As it happens, we just had a seat open up on the 4:46 flight, number 7937.  It's getting ready to board at Gate A19, if you can make that one?"

"Oh, yes, thank you," Valerie hurried to say, grabbing her purse as she stood up and headed out of the small restaurant.

"Okay, then, I'll notify them to be expecting you.   Do enjoy your flight, and thank you for choosing Interatlantic Airways."

The connection ended as Valerie strode toward Gate A.  The only thought in her mind was getting home, getting back to the things she knew best, and Evan . . .

Just the thought of his name was enough to wring another low moan from her as yet another stab of guilt rocked through her.  It didn't matter that common logic told her that Marvin was her fiancé, that she really shouldn't feel bad for something that should have been natural.  Somewhere in her heart, she'd already come to think of Evan as the one she belonged with, and the knowledge wasn't as frightening as it should have been.  No, it seemed as normal as breathing, didn't it, which was why . . .

She had to talk to him; had to tell him what had happened.  She'd already screwed things up badly enough that she couldn't help but wonder if Evan would listen to her.  He would, wouldn't he?  But the last thing—the very last thing—she wanted now was to mess things up more by not being completely honest with him, too . . .


"Then tell me, V.  Tell me why you'd wait for him.  What is he to you?"

"He . . . He's what I need . . . What I . . . I need . . ."

"What you need . . . Is that what you think?  Do you think that life is about finding what you need and settling for it?"

"I'm not settling for anything.  He's a good man—he's got integrity, honor, compassion . . . He allows me to be who I am, Evan, and maybe you don't understand what I see in him, but you don't have the right to judge him, either."

"There's a difference between allowing you to be who you are and only being around when it's convenient for him. We're not talking about some business relationship here.  We're talking about a man you say you're going to marry.  Look, I'm not even saying that it has to be me, Valerie.  Just not him."

That conversation . . . It had happened so long ago, and yet, not that long ago; not really.

He was right, wasn't he?  All along, everything he'd said to her . . . and she had been the stubborn one.

She . . . She should have told Marvin.  The thought hadn't actually crossed her mind until after she had boarded the plane, until after the stewardess had brought her a glass of red wine.  The only seat available was in first class, not that Valerie cared.  She just wanted to get home, back to Evan, where she knew who she was; where she was starting to realize just how important the things she'd tried to tell herself were incidental.

Still, the nagging thought remained.  She should have told Marvin that it was over.  Gritting her teeth, she shook her head slightly.  No, she hadn't thought about it at the time because she'd just wanted to get the hell out of there, and by the time she'd talked herself into opening the bathroom door, the very last thing she could deal with was the idea of having to wake him.  It had taken enough of what few resources she had left to calm herself down enough to get out of the hotel without coming completely undone . . .

Staring at the beautiful deep red liquid in the glass, she let out a deep breath.  She'd call him when she got home.  She'd explain things to him, but even then, she really had to wonder whether or not he would even be that upset over it.  Evan wasn't far wrong when he'd said that it was more of a business arrangement than a romantic relationship, and that thought made her grimace.  Not quite, maybe, but the practicalities of the situation had been far more important than anything else.  It was just hard to explain, she supposed.  She did love Marvin, just not in the way that he ought to be loved—not in the way that she . . . That she loved Evan . . .

"I . . . I love . . . him . . ." she murmured, touching her fingers to her lips as a stuttering sense of warmth flickered to life somewhere deep down.  Just those words, the realization behind them—the words she'd always been too afraid to even consider . . . Why did those words have the power to calm her?  After everything else that had happened, why . . .?

She almost smiled.  All too soon, though, the truths of the realities that she had created herself came rushing back in, nudging aside the momentary reprieve.  The sense of guilt, the feeling that she'd cheated on Evan, hit her hard, and she closed her eyes for a moment, willing the pain in her chest to wane as she struggled to find a way to even begin to comprehend it all.  Would he listen to her?  Would he let her explain any of it?  Evan's temper . . . she'd seen it before.  It was ugly, and it wasn't at all what she would ever expect from someone who tended to be as happy-go-lucky as he usually was, and still . . .

She'd figure it out.  She had to.  Just what was left if she didn't?  He had to listen to her, didn't he?  And . . . and maybe he'd forgive her, too . . . maybe.

'It's . . . it's all . . . my fault . . . If I hadn't fallen asleep . . .'

But even as the argument resounded in her mind, she dismissed it.  What good was it to try to make excuses, really?  Those excuses wouldn't change the end result.  Those excuses would serve no purpose, wouldn't sanctify her, wouldn't do a thing to undo the damage that was already done.  Evan deserved more than just her pathetic explanations, and Marvin . . . He did, too . . .

It was the same thing that Evan and Madison had seen, wasn't it?  Marvin never had been that good at reading Valerie, and that wasn't his fault.  No, even with him, she had managed to retain a measure of herself, of her own independence, she'd called it.  In reality, it was just another device to keep him at bay.  She'd tried that with Evan, too, but the difference was, Evan had wanted to be closer despite what she said, and Marvin?  She grimaced.  Marvin didn't have the confidence to force the issue . . .

Whether Marvin didn't want to disturb her when she might be busy or if he simply didn't realize that their relationship was punctuated with things that weren't quite the way they should have been, Valerie hadn't bothered to question the casual overtones of it all.  She'd fooled herself into thinking that it was what she wanted—what she needed, and maybe a part of her did sorely crave that kind of predictability, that kind of safety, but Evan . . .

And the very real question—the only question that remained—was simple enough.  How could she weigh and measure the things she got from Evan against those things she thought she had wanted for so long?  There was a time not so long ago when she'd been unable to even comprehend the kind of instability that being with someone like Evan would mean, not only from the insanity of the life he chose to lead but also from the deeper investment of her mind, of her soul, and even now, the very idea of those things that frightened her were almost enough to scare her out of her wits, but . . .

But what was the trade-off?  She wasn't naïve enough to think that there really was such a thing as forever.  There was only time and how you used it, how you spent it, and who you chose to spend it with.  The same questions still lingered: when Evan got sick of her, when the freshness, the near-insanity of new romance wore thin . . . But maybe it would be all right, too?  Would any measure of 'wonderful' be enough to convince her in the end that it had been worth it?

No, she wasn't certain, but she had a feeling that it would be.

It . . . It would have to be.

"Would you like a refill?"

Valerie blinked and turned her head.  It took her a few moments to focus on the stewardess' face.  Open, friendly, her smile widened as she reached for Valerie's empty glass.  She hurried away without another word as Valerie's gaze flicked out the window at the blackened night sky once more.  She hadn't remembered emptying the glass.  So lost in thought that it hadn't even occurred to her, she wondered vaguely where the plane was, exactly.  The only seat she'd been able to get was in first class, but even that paled in comparison to the luxury of Evan's private jet.

She didn't care about that, though, not really.  Somehow, she knew that her feelings wouldn't be any different if he were a poor construction worker instead of an international rock phenomenon.  In some ways, maybe she'd prefer that, even.  After all, at least then, he wouldn't be sought out by every woman who ran across him.  At least then, all those girls wouldn't instantly know his name . . .

"Here you go.  Would you like anything else?  A blanket?"

Valerie took the glass and shook her head, and she tried to smile at the stewardess but couldn't quite do it.  The flight attendant smiled again and hurried on to assist someone else.

How could she have been so stupid?  How the hell could she have let everything drag on so long?  Easy to say that she just hadn't seen it, and easy to think that she simply hadn't had to think about it all.  That was a cop-out, and she knew it.  She hadn't wanted to see it, hadn't wanted to think about it.  Evan, with his easy smile, with the inner warmth that seemed to radiate from him naturally . . . He hadn't ever wanted to push her, had he—at least, not when it came right down to making her choose?  He hadn't wanted to make her choose when he . . . when he thought for certain that he would lose out every time . . .

'That . . . But . . . It's always been Evan, hasn't it . . .?'

Rubbing her forehead, Valerie sighed as a pang of longing so strong shot straight through her.  Suddenly, savagely, she needed to see him, his face: to see that smile, to hear his laughter—to feel his arms around her, his silent reassurances that everything was okay—that it would eventually be okay, anyway . . .


The taxi pulled to a stop before the gates of Evan's estate long enough for Bone to spot and wave at Valerie before opening them and waving them through.  The driver was muttering something about never thinking that he'd be taking someone here and that his buddies would never believe it.  Valerie ignored him, shaking her head slightly, trying to clear the thickness that she couldn't quite get rid of.  Still running a slight fever—not surprising since she really hadn't gotten a chance to rest much, and the wine on the plane was probably a bad idea.  Drunk, certainly not, but she could definitely feel the effects on her strained system.  Exhaustion was taking its toll on her, but more importantly, the need to see Evan had just grown in her mind.

She just couldn't shake the irrational thought that, if she didn't see him now, he would somehow fade away from her.  Common sense told her that she was being ridiculous, but that had very little room in her mind, at the moment.  She needed to see him, needed to hear him tell her that everything was all right—and she needed to tell him, too: needed to tell him that she . . . that she wanted to be with him . . . that she was sorry for everything.

That she was sorry for what had happened with Marvin, too.

The guilt was nearly overwhelming, unshakable.  The feeling that she'd betrayed Evan, that she'd cheated on him, was enough to choke her, but if she put it off, the feeling would only grow, wouldn't it?

She had to see him . . .

The taxi pulled to a stop, and Valerie stumbled out of it after handing the driver money for the fare.  Taking a moment to stare up at the looming edifice, she couldn't breathe, couldn't swallow, couldn't do anything as a brigade of butterflies erupted in her belly.

Forcing her feet to move, she shuffled forward toward the steps.  Anticipation mingled with that last bit of uncertainty.  It felt like it had been a lifetime and not less than twenty-four hours since she'd last seen him.  So much had happened, though, and all she wanted was to see Evan's face, to tell him the things that she had come to realize . . .

The wind whipped her hair into her face, and she pushed it back without really paying attention.  Pulling herself up short, Valerie sucked in a deep breath when the front door opened, and Evan stepped out.  Wearing a black warm-up suit with his hair pulled back in a ponytail.  A black baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses completed the ensemble, but when he lifted his chin and saw her, he pulled a pair of earphones out of his ears and yanked off the sunglasses as a timid smile surfaced.  "V!  Hey!  I was just going to go for a run . . ."

Taking a step back, she quickly shook her head.  He looked happy enough, but she didn't miss the tightness around his eyes, the tell-tale signs that he . . . he was worried, probably about how she was going to react now, especially after what had nearly happened between the two of them in the bathroom . . . "Oh, uh . . ."

He waved that off as he stuck the glasses and earphones into his jacket and dug his hands into his pants pockets as though he were somewhat nervous.  "Uh . . . About yesterday . . . I . . . I'm . . . Well, not sorry, exactly . . ." Trailing off as a belligerent kind of expression surfaced, he shrugged.  It was an odd kind of mix—as though he was trying to act tougher than he was, yet he couldn't quite hide the anxiety that lingered just below the surface . . . Staring at her without a trace of amusement in the depths of his gaze, he was reluctant to move toward her, as though he were afraid that she was going to turn tail and run.

Shifting his weight from one foot to the other, he seemed to be waiting, and Valerie had to choke back a sob that suddenly welled up in her throat.  Eyes burning behind the blur of tears that sprang to the fore, she stumbled up the steps, intent on one thing: on reaching him.  He stepped back as she threw her arms around him, bracing himself for the impact.  Hands quickly reaching up to sink into her hair, he uttered a soft sound, almost a whine, as he let out a deep breath.  "V . . ."

Muttering half-words, she shook her head.  What was it about him that was able to soothe her, even if he had no idea just what demons were chasing after her in her mind?

"It's all right," he whispered, rubbing her back, a strange sense of calm emanating from him to her, as though he was trying to placate her.

"It's . . . It's not," she murmured, hating the truth in her words, hating that she couldn't find the strength to just tell him so that she could deal with whatever was to come.

Just as suddenly, though, he let go of her, grasping her forearms as he forced her back, as he ducked his head to see into her eyes.  The look on his face was a shock to her system: anger—outrage . . . and a sense of pain so deep that she could almost feel it like a physical thing.  "What the . . .?  You fucked him?" he hissed.  "That little bastard?  You fucked him?"

Valerie gasped, recoiling from his rage, from the vehemence in his voice.  "I-I-I—"

"Just yesterday, you were . . . and I thought . . ." Letting go of her, he stomped across the porch and back again, unable or unwilling to meet her eyes.  "Why the hell would you do that?" he bellowed.

Shaking her head to refute his anger more than to counter his assertions, Valerie closed her arms over her chest like she needed the buffer against him, and maybe she did.  "I didn't—"

"Are you really going to stand there and try to tell me that you didn't fuck him?" Evan cut in as the very air around him seemed to surge in time with his pulse.  "Is that what you're trying to do?"

"N-No, but—"

"But what?"

Wincing as his emotions cut right through her, Valerie miserably shook her head.  "It—It wasn't like that," she heard herself whisper.  "I just went there to—to talk to him, and . . ."

"And you fucked him," Evan growled.  Valerie yelped and jumped back as Evan's hand smashed down on the railing beside her.  With a groan, the solid wood banister cracked as easily as a bit of glass, crashing onto the floor.

"I'm sorry," she murmured, burying her face in her hands.  "I . . . I'm so sorry . . ."

He looked like he was ready to light into her again.  Stopping abruptly, draping his hands on his hips as he stared at her incredulously, he must have thought better of it because he dug his phone out and quickly punched in a number.  "Yeah, Bone?  Get her the hell outta here," he stated without bothering with any kind of pleasantries.


Cutting herself off when he jammed a finger under her nose, Valerie started to reach out to him, but yanked her hand back when he pinned her with another fierce glower.

Ending the call and looking like he'd rather chuck the phone than stick it back in his pocket, Evan opened and closed his free hand on a fistful of air.  "Go home, Val," he sneered, yanking the door open once more. "Just get the hell out of here.  I don't even want to see your face right now."

She couldn't hide the flinch as he stomped inside and slammed the door closed.  

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~= ~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'How Can I Help You Say Goodbye?' by Patty Loveless originally appeared on the 1993 release, Only What I Feel.  Copyrighted to Burton Banks Collins and Karen Taylor-Good.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Titiana ——— Ryguy5387 ——— AtamaHitoride ——— OROsan0677 ——— Tashwampa ——— oblivion-bringr ——— xSerenityx020 ——— sutlesarcasm ——— Dark Inu Fan ——— chaos_kyes_fallen_angel
Saphirea83 ——— sydniepaige ——— cutechick18 ——— tinywingedthing ——— amohip ——— free_freeme_free ——— indigorrain ——— HisEveryThing
Thought from Valerie:
How … How did he know …?
Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Subterfuge):  I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga.  Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al.  I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.

Chapter 200
Chapter 202
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